After CNA Training: Challenging Behaviors

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When I worked in the nursing home after CNA training, we had one particular patient whom I absolutely loved, but who I also found the most frustrating to deal with. For privacy and HIPAA sake, let’s call her Jane. Now, Jane was an elderly woman who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, along with an illness that prevented her from walking completely upright and on her own. That didn’t mean she was content with sitting, however. In fact, she had her very own ‘race car’ as she dubbed it. It was a wheelchair-like cart made from PVC pipe. It was semi-enclosed, had a seat, but also provided room for her to stand up and move about when she wanted while still having something to hold onto.

While this chair satisfied her most days, there were other days when she wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Those were the interesting days, when she was aware enough to undo the locking mechanism on the chair so she could walk down the hall without any type of assistance. The nursing staff, including myself, thought we would be smart and attach a pull-alarm to the back of her shirt and to the chair, so if she pulled away far enough, the alarm would go off, alerting us. This worked for the first two weeks, then I caught her walking down the hall, the alarm box un-velcroed from the chair in her in hand.

She was determined. And while all of us found this amazing and beautiful, we also realized how dangerous it was for her to be walking down the hall by herself with no sort of stabilization or assistance. It was frustrating after CNA training, knowing that we were trying to help her and knowing at the same time that she didn’t realize the danger and simply wanted to take a walk.

After CNA training, you will no doubt have some of the same types of stories. You’ll deal with frustrations and challenges when it comes to your patients, whether they are constantly attempting to do something dangerous by themselves, or have other behaviors like anxiety, hallucinations, impulsiveness, withdrawal, clinging, or aggressiveness. Sometimes you might have a difficult time dealing with these issues, and you might not know where to turn next. Here are just a few tips for overcoming and coping with this problem.

After CNA Training: Challenging Behaviors

  • Attempt to understand why the problem is occurring in the first place after CNA training. Is the issue a pattern behavior? Is the patient reacting to a sound or situation?
  • Keep a record of the behaviors and make sure everyone on the nursing team is aware of them after CNA training.
  • Communicate often with the patient. If their actions are dangerous to themselves or others, make sure they understand that.
  • Provide as much safety as possible after CNA training. In the case of Jane, her care plan allowed us to attach a safety alarm to her chair and to her shirt.
  • Keep the environment as structured as possible after CNA training.
  • If you find yourself becoming too frustrated, take a break and find someone else to help you out. Avoid burnout as much as possible; this will only make a bad situation worse.
  • Keep learning. Continued CNA training is essential to your growing career and to learning how to handle challenging patients.
  • Go to your supervisor. Not only do the nursing staff understand each patient’s care plan better than you do after CNA training, but they also have more say in what tools and ideas you can and cannot use to help the patient.
  • Be a little empathetic. Many patients don’t have control over their actions because of disease or illness. Empathize with them after CNA training.

Struggling with a frustrating patient? Use these tips to overcome a bad situation after CNA training.

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